Give the Nobel Peace Prize to Greta and FridaysForFuture

Today we have nominated Greta Thunberg and FridaysForFuture to the Nobel Peace Prize. Please find our motivation here: NobelnomineringGretaFfF2020-01-30 or below.

Stockholm 2020-01-30

To the Norwegian Nobel Committee:
Nobel Peace Prize to Greta Thunberg and FridaysForFuture
Greta Thunberg is a climate activist, and the main reason she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize is that despite her young age, she has worked hard to make politicians open their eyes to the climate crisis. FridaysForFuture is the movement that has been built up around Greta Thunberg. Without FridaysForFuture and Greta Thunberg the climate issue would not have been on the agenda to such an extent as it is today.

There is no other topic that is so important as solving the climate crisis, and what we need right now is to focus on how we can solve this crisis. The climate crisis will produce new conflicts and ultimately wars. Action for reducing our emissions and complying with the Paris Agreement is therefore also an act of making peace.

At the climate summit, COP25, in Madrid last December Greta said the following:

“Our leaders are not behaving as if we are in an emergency. In an emergency you change your behaviour. If there is a child standing in the middle of the road and cars are coming at full speed you don’t look away because it feels uncomfortable. You immediately run out and rescue that child.”

In few lines that encompasses Greta Thunberg´s clear and straightforward way of communication the climate urgency in which we live. Thunberg is 17 years old and despite the fact that she is still a child, she shows us that everyone can make a difference. It’s just a matter of courage and will power. Greta Thunberg and FridaysForFuture have been protesting outside parliaments and elsewhere every Friday over the globe. They have made the world open their eyes and see the reality and not just that, she showed us that every single one could make a difference. No matter how big the difference is, but everyone can do something.

A worldwide movement particularly of children and youth have now joined Greta Thunberg in the FridaysForFuture protests. The Global climate strike, Friday 29th September 2019, was the biggest manifestation for the climate ever, with more than 6000 events in 185 countries with more than 7 million participants. In many places the action day meant the biggest rally since the end of the World War II. Greta Thunberg and FridaysForFuture have built up the public momentum needed for adequate political action for solving the climate crisis.

For that they deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

Jens Holm, MP riksdagen Sweden
Håkan Svenneling, MP riksdagen Sweden

Transport and Climate Crisis

I´m writing about the Climate Crisis and the need for a transformation of transport sector. Published by the Rosa Luxemburg Fundation. Please read below or here: TransformTransportHolm2019-12-12

Transport and Climate Crisis – Lessons for the Left
December 2019, Reflection Paper [1]
Accounting for almost one third of the EU’s total greenhouse emissions, the transport sector is the main contributor to today’s climate crisis. Moreover, carbon emissions are still booming despite both EU and national emission reduction targets. If business interests keep prevailing, we will have a huge increase in European transport-related emissions. The International Transport Forum predicts an increase of 100 percent in personal transport and 300 percent in goods by 2050. In this scenario the EU climate targets for 2030 and 2050 are in peril, in particular the already-too-modest goal of reducing transport-related emissions by 60 percent by 2050 (White Paper on Transport 2011). We all understand that continuous emissions of carbon dioxide are a threat to our existence. To rely only on the possibility of a technological shift in the fields of biofuels and electricity is a huge gamble. The Left needs a strategy towards fixing the transport problem shift with an eye towards social inclusion and zero emissions. Although such a strategy does not yet exist, the following list includes some ideas for discussion towards the development of such a strategy:

  1. Get rid of cheap fossil fuels

Today’s boom in the transport sector has been made possible by cheap fossil fuels. The aviation and shipping sector do not pay any environmental costs for the use of diesel, petrol and kerosene. As for road transports, there are mechanisms to internalize the environmental costs of fossil fuels in many European countries. This is good, but not enough. The Left must move beyond taxing externalities: the objective should be to get rid of fossil combustion engines altogether as soon as possible. We should welcome proposals on banning the sale of new fossil vehicles, such as the ones put forward in France, Sweden and Denmark, just to mention a few examples.

Nevertheless, taxing fossil fuels is an important measure until fossil fuel vehicles are banned altogether. However, as the example of the French gilets jaunes shows, it is important to have a fair tax design. Cap and dividend is a good principle in this respect. Could, for instance, a part of the revenues be used to subsidize marginalized areas, public transport, or even direct tax cuts and economical allowances for low-income persons? I am convinced that it is possible to simultaneously address both environmental problems and fairer wealth redistribution.

When it comes to aviation, the solution is simply to tax it as highly as possible. Some European countries (e.g. the UK, Germany and Sweden) have already imposed a tax on air flights. The Swedish tax was implemented last year, and since then both domestic and international flights decreased for the first time in decades. The aviation tax can therefore be considered a success. A tax on aviation is by definition a very fair tax, since high-income earners are the most frequent flyers. A progressive tax, such as the one proposed in the campaign A Free Ride (http://afreeride.org/), in which the price of tickets increases with the amount of flights that are carried out during a year, would be even fairer possibility. It is also possible to have a higher tax on business tickets, as seen in the UK. All this would reduce emissions, increase revenues to the state and have an even greater impact on fair economical distribution. Another simple solution is to tax aviation fuels. At the moment they are non-taxable due to the WWII-era ICAO Chicago Convention, which exempted fuels related to aviation from taxation. However, the convention dates back to 1944, long before the climate debate and Paris Agreement. The Left needs to push the EU and the ICAO to have such obsolete provisions scrapped altogether.

When it comes to the maritime sector, it is somewhat more complicated. Watercrafts stand for an increasing amount of the world’s emissions of greenhouse gases; however, this also because they are in charge of transporting the bulk part of the world’s export and import goods. More could be done in order to spur more local production to reduce cross-border transport, but trade will continue to exist in the future and therefore the shipping problem needs solutions. A simple one would be to switch from bunker oil to gas and from gas to electricity and hydrogen thereafter. Ports should also enforce much stricter environmental criteria for entry. Compliance with new regulations on Sulphur (SOx) and Nitrogen (NOx) will also lead to a total reduction of CO2 gases. In this regard, the IMO/Helcom zone of the Baltic Sea to limit SOx and NOx could stand as an inspiring example.

 

  1. Modal shift – from road to rail

If sea transport is a good environmental alternative to road, rail is even better. In all transport conferences, there is consensus around the necessity for transporting more goods on rail and less on road. However, the current goes the other way, and market-driven concerns for speed do not make it easier. In Europe almost 80 percent of the land freight transports are delivered by lorries and practically everything else is on rail (a small percentage goes on inland waterways). The trend is a continuous increase in road transport with the associated rising emissions. Even if freight transport goes down, transports will continue to take place. Therefore a modal shift from road to rail (and inner waterways, where possible) is a must. Is it possible to make this happen? Let’s take a look at Europe’s premier transit country, Switzerland. In the year 2001, the Swiss government imposed the Heavy Goods Vehicle Charge, a tax on heavy lorry transports (over 3.5 tons). The purpose was to reduce the steady influx of heavy transports and protect the environment. In spite of a total growing pressure from the transport sector, the Swiss tax has actually managed to reduce the total number of heavy transports through the country. At the time of the tax introduction, more than one million transalpine transports were carried out yearly. Last year the number was down to 800 000, with the clear political ambition to decrease it even more. At the same time the market share for goods transport on rail increased, especially when compared to the alpine neighbour Austria, where transport via motorways is predominant. Additionally, the revenues from the tax go to the Swiss railway fund for further development of the rail infrastructure. The Swiss example shows that it is indeed possible to stop the increase of road transport and thus to make the modal shift from road to rail.

 

  1. Solve transport crisis in our cities

A large chunk of our emissions stem from transport in cities. More and more people want to live in urban areas because of urbanization. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Such a concentration of people in a limited area is a breeding ground for rational solutions. Well-developed public transport systems are the main strategy in this context. However, most of today’s metro, tramway, and suburban train systems were built during the post-war era and are today in desperate need of improvement. How, then, to reduce urban road transports and at the same time mobilize funding for public transport and cycling? Should this acute political issue be left in the hands of our local decision-makers? Perhaps the Stockholm example with congestion charges could give some guidance? In Stockholm we made the biggest investment in our public transport system when, inspired by the London system (2003), we imposed the congestion charges 2006 (later congestion charges were turned into tax). The tax has been raised a couple of times since then, and generates today around 200 million euros yearly that goes to investments in the public transport system, in particular construction of 20 km of new metro lines with eleven new stations. The congestion tax managed to reduce urban car traffic in Stockholm for the first time and at the same time generated valuable revenues for public transport. The London system (and later the congestion tax in Gothenburg) follows the same pattern. From a class and gender perspective the congestion tax also favours structurally weaker groups, since wealthy men are over-represented in car transports and the working class and women are the ones that use public transport the most.

 

  1. Free public transport – from utopia to reality

Speaking of urban public transport: would it be possible to have a transport service that is both first-rate and free of charge? After a public referendum in 2013 which achieved a resounding ‘Yes’ as a result, the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, became the first European capital (with the exception of Thorshavn, capital of the Faroe Islands) to impose free public transport. The free fare led to an increase in public travel by about 10 per cent (more in poorer areas of the city) and a reduction in car traffic. The reform was financed partly with higher parking fees in the city centre. Now other municipalities in Estonia are discussing following Tallinn’s example and making public transport free of charge. The French city of Dunkirk (about 90 000 inhabitants) implemented free public transport in 2018, apparently with considerable success. In addition, it has come to my knowledge that the discussion about free public transport is vibrant in countries such as Luxemburg and Germany. Many smaller towns in Europe already have free public transport, either for all citizens or for certain groups (children, students, pensioners). All of these examples are subject for further study.

As good as it sounds, free public transport still looks like an utopia in most European cities. It simply costs a lot of money, and whatever funding there is needs to prioritize the enhancing of the service as such. Although this argument carries a lot of weight, it should be remembered that ticketing and control systems (such as the metro “head chopping” barriers in Paris and Stockholm) are not cheap either. In many regions of Europe, approximately 50 percent of funding for public transport comes from tax revenue (the other half stem from ticket fees and sometimes other external funding). When that 50 percent is used up, local politicians will often ask themselves, “if we are already funding 60 percent of the service, why not take the extra mile and fund 100 percent?” This was the case of Tallinn, where 65 percent of public transport funding already came from tax revenue. It simply became easier and more rational to fund it wholly through taxes, like other social services.

A task for the Left should be to find feasible ways of making free public transport possible. The fact that free public transport combines the goals of fair wealth distribution and environmental sustainability makes the struggle a worthy one for the Left.

 

  1. Who defines “mobility”?

Mobility, linked with smart, green, eco, micro, modern, is one of the most frequent buzzwords in the transport sector today. New modes of transport keep popping up like daisies in spring; car sharing, carpooling, autonomous vehicles, electric bicycles and electric scooters – all of these could become important for the reduction of congestion and emissions. Nonetheless, it should not be taken for granted that new transport modes will automatically solve our problems. Without a clear political vision, these new features could become more of a burden than part of the solution.

Take electrical scooters as an example. One year ago, the scooter company Voi established itself in Stockholm pretty much overnight by placing more than thousand rental e-scooters in the central parts of the city. Swedish Voi was soon followed by other companies such as American Lime, German Tier, Circ and others, all of them backed by international venture capital. At the moment there are eight different scooter companies with a couple of thousand scooters competing on the streets, making the Swedish capital look like a salvage experiment for gig mobility economy. It could be argued that for many Stockholmers like myself, e-scooters have gone from being a fun and maybe necessary innovation to a huge nuisance. Why did this happen? Instead of becoming an integrated part of the public transport system, today e-scooters are scattered all over the place: in the streets, on bicycle lanes, dumped in the lake and canals (with batteries which become a local environmental hazard), and the list goes on. Hospitals reports record high numbers of casualties due to accidents with e-scooters (this summer we experienced the first death toll from an e-scooter accident, in southern Helsingborg). All this has taken place in the very centre of our capital, where space is very limited. Considering the chaos they have caused, we can say that e-scooters are the clear opposite of mobility, becoming instead a big hurdle, in particular for disabled persons. The scooters are not regulated at all. Responsible local politicians have said that since this is a completely new phenomenon they have no right to interfere, and the Swedish national government says it is up to the municipalities to regulate. In my opinion this illustrates the drawback of 100 percent market-driven innovation lacking any form of political regulation (a more promising example is France’s recent regulation on “les trottinettes” as they are called).

 

  1. Self-driving cars – from problem to solution

The rental e-scooters may look as a marginal phenomenon, but soon we will have bigger challenges that can revolutionize our cities in a more profound way: self-driving cars. Several studies on autonomous vehicles have been carried out (e.g. OECD transport committee Urban Mobility System Upgrade, 2015), and they all point in the same direction: designed to complement public transport and not as a privately owned vehicle, self-driving cars can make the privately owned car superfluous. The OECD study concludes that 90 percent of cars will disappear when city dwellers realize they do not need a car of their own, and that in a matter of minutes they can just call for an autonomous one that will bring them where they want. Studies from the KTH University in Stockholm point in the same direction. In the doctoral dissertation of Pierre-Jean Rigoles (2014), every self-driving car replaces 14 manual privately owned cars, and only one out of 20 parking spots will be needed in a scenario where shared autonomous vehicles are the norm. Rigoles also states that shared self-driving cars are very compatible with vehicle electrification. Autonomous and electric cars are a “perfect match”, he writes. Today a very big part of the space in our cities is dedicated to cars, roads and parking spots (25 to 60 percent of the area, depending if we are in Europe or in North America). This is particularly inefficient when we consider that privately owned cars are not in use 96 percent of the time, and when they are in use, they carry an average of only 1.2 persons. When 9 out of 10 cars become obsolete, you do not have to be a city planner to realize that a large portion of this space can be replaced with housing, playgrounds, parks, public institutions, etc. What an extraordinary vision for our cities!

On the other hand, without this vision and lacking the correct strategy, we may find ourselves in asphalted Gotham cities that are overcrowded with self-driving fossil-fuel cars delivering pizzas and picking up children from training; that is to say, many more cars than today.

Our main challenge is to put an end to emissions from the transport sector. If we reduce emissions, it is very likely that we will also achieve a better local air quality, which will benefit all, but in particular the working class and many marginalized neighbourhoods that are more exposed to air pollution and traffic noise. Making the transport system fairer, both from a class and gender perspective must go hand-in-hand with the struggle for the environment. As I have showed in the examples above, almost every single measure towards reducing transport emissions will also benefit the working class, young people and women. This makes for a fantastic opportunity to merge green and red.

Whether or not this becomes a reality – that is up to the Left to decide.

Jens Holm, the Left Party, MP Swedish riksdag, chair of Transport committee

www.jensholm.se/english

Literature:

 

[1] This reflection paper is part of transform! Europe’s productive transformation project. Facilitator of the productive transformation working group: Roland Kulke, Brussels, kulke@transform-network.net

 

Why climate must trump the market

Below a presentation I hold in Copenhagen, spring this year.

Why climate must trump the market – A scrutiny of today´s neoliberal EU and the political solutions
Transform – Copenhagen 2019-03-19
Jens Holm, MP the Left Party, Sweden

Why are not the students at school? The question was asked all over the world as more than 1 million young students skipped school in 125 countries and took to the streets Friday 15/3. The climate strike initiator 16 years old Swedish Greta Thunberg gave an answer to the question: “Why should we educate ourselves to a future that might not exist? Therefore we are on strike for the climate – and we will continue.” And science is clear on the matter. Never in the latest 800 000 years there has been so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And 85 per cent of the CO2 concentration has been emitted after the second world war. That means that today´s climate crisis is not the result of a very long time geological process, but a result of the way of living during one or two generations after the Second World War. The decades up to now most parts of world has been dominated by a more and more aggressive capitalist industrialized process with exploitation of labour as well as nature as the common denominator.

According to the IPCC we have about 10 years to bend the curve of constantly increasing emissions. More political action is needed but one forgotten aspect of it is that actual legislation is not updated to be in line with what a radical climate transition requires. With my experience as a former member of the European Parliament and eight years in the Swedish Committee of European Affairs in the Swedish Parliament it occurs to me that that the EU treaties and core legislation are clearly biased towards marked. Let me share you some examples. I will touch upon the internal market, State Aid legislation and the EU international trade agreements.

Ever since the first EU (ECC) treaty the Coal and Steel union 1951, via Maastricht 1993 and to today´s Lisbon treaty the fulfilment of the internal market has been one of the core objectives. How do you create a perfect market? Well, you eliminate so called trade distortions. But trade distortions/barriers can be many things; taxes, fees, silly bureaucracy, but also national legislation in order to protect workers, public health and environment. And speaking of the latter there are many examples of member states that have been forced to sacrifice progressive legislation in order to comply with the EU internal market requisites. Denmark used to have an almost perfect system for recollecting bottles from beer and sweet drinks. Pretty much all bottles were part of the national recycling system. But after complaints from German breweries Denmark needed to abolish this successful system at the beginning of 2000´s (that banned disposable cans – with dåesforbudet – for beers and sweet drinks) and permit import of beers in cans from Germany and other countries. The free movement of goods were more important that protecting a successful national recollection system. Before the entrance of the European Union Sweden had bans on several chemicals and additives in food. Most common is our ban on azo colorants (bright colorants usually in sweets and drinks which could cause severe allergic reactions on sensitive persons). Sweden was forced to skip that and many other bans. The free movement of goods was considered more important and our legislation on public health. If the EU Commission do not manage to correct a member state to adopt to the market rules cases usually end up in the European Court of Justice (ECJ). When I was a member of the European Parliament I looked in to the cases were environmental legislation had clashed the EU internal market. I got the information that between 2003-2008 none less than 19 cases had been ruled by the ECJ and in all those 19 cases the court had judged the benefit of the market, at cost of the environment. 19-0 to the market! The then (ex-social democratic) German commissioner Günter Verheugen answered me simply: “In all of the 19 cases the Court confirmed that public health or environmental justifications were not sufficient to inhibit the free movement of goods.”

The EU State Aid legislation is fundamental in order to protect the internal market and for that is protected in the Lisbon Treaty in the article 107-109. The articles states that state support is banned as the default position. If a member state would like to take measures financially in order to e.g spur renewable energy, create new public enterprises or make other crucial public investments pre notification and latter permission from the EU commission is needed. In Sweden we have experienced serious difficulties with promoting biogas and other renewable energy sources since the EU stats that all energy should be taxed the same and special support is not legal. At the moment the government managed – after lot of struggle with Brussels – to gain temporarily acceptance for a lower taxation for renewable fuels such as biogas, but it is only temporarily and will expire soon. In the state aid rules some exemptions are allowed, but climate action or environmental protection are not valid grounds for exemptions from the ban on state support. Being a socialist this is extremely problematic. I see the state – and the public sector as a whole – as perhaps the main movers when it comes to climate transition. To ban that is to make it impossible to use one of the most efficient tools to transform society.

One could ask, are there not examples where environment has trumped market, where member states have been granted more stringent positions in spite of marked harmonization? Yes, there are some. But they are exeptions that prove the rule. And although there can be some rooms for manoeuvre a big problem is the uncertainty. As legislators we need to have a clear picture of the conditions. Uncertainties makes us reluctant to even consider to usually long process of legislative action (with a public investigation, public consultation, committee work, and vote in chamber). And this is in times when we need more political action, not less. Then we can not have uncertainties that jeopardizes the momentum of action.

It doesn´t stop within the European Union, when it comes to Free Trade Agreement I´d say that the EU is the most market aggressive part in the world. I do not have a problem with getting rid of trade barriers when it comes to non-needed red tape, some tariffs or taxes. But the problems start, as well inside the EU, when the non-tariff barriers are addressed, in other words when legislation is questioned. Once again is the space for progressive policy making in danger. Agreements such as CETA with Canada, TTIP as it was proposed with the US and the FTA with Singapore have the same features; regulatory cooperation in order to streamline new policy making in favor of trade, deregulation as default and investor protection (ISDS). All components are extremely controversial and shrinks de policy space for progressive legislative action. The experience of other agreements with ISDS is terrifying. The NAFTA treaty has been in operation since 1994 and has a clause for investor protection. That has made Canada the most sued industrialized country in the world, usually US companies (or Canadians with address in the US) that sue the Canadians for environmental protection. The most infamous case is probably the Lone Pine ISDS suit for the Quebec state ban on fracking. Since 1994 Canada has now been sued 35 times with ISDS as base. I´m not proud to mention that the most well known European ISDS-case probably is the Swedish Vattenfall double investment process against the German government. First 2009 against the local stringent legislation against the Moorburg coal power plant were the Swedish state owned energy giant made the Germans loosen up the environmental legislation (!) and the second not yet settled were Vattenfall demands ludicrously 4,5 billion euro for the German decision to phase out nuclear power. Worth to mention is that we ISDS processes are not carried out in the usual national courts, but at extra judicial litigation tribunals. In the Vattenfall vs Germany-case the World Bank tribunal ICSID is the place to settle the dispute, not a public court in Germany or Sweden. In some countries, Sweden is one, the investor vs state is settled at tribunals hosted at Chambers of Commerce. (In Sweden at the Arbitration Institute at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, SCC. The SCC had up to recently as the CEO a well known politician from the Swedish conservative party, Moderaterna. The Arbitration Institute at SCC boast with their policy of total “confidentiality”; in effect noting is public. That has made them the second most used arena for investors to sue states after ICSID in Washington). I know all this might sound as a fringe left conspiracy; but it is not.

And according to the United Nations trade body UNCTAD the number of ISDS cases are on increase. Since the start a couple of decades ago some 855 cases were investors sue state have been documented up to 2018, with 70 cases only in 2015 as a record year (and 65 in 2017). In 60 per cent of the ISDS-cases that were decided on the merits the investor has won. Many of the cases deals with environmental matters were corporations challenge national action in this area. That shows clearly that the investors has a lot to win in taking states to investor tribunals, but nature and progressive legislation is the big looser.

To call CETA, TTIP and other Free Trade Agreements “free trade agreements” is in other words misleading since the purpose is to encompass most policy areas and make those trade friendly (nota bene; the CETA treaty is a “comprehensive” agreement as the name says and TTIP is both trade and “investment” agreement, just as two clear examples). And as mentioned before what is good for trade is not always the best for climate action.

When I have debated this issues even people far out on the liberal spectrum of politics agree that today´s investment regime is giving corporations all rights and no duties and that this is not about free trade but protect corporations both from competition as well as national legislation. And from a climate change perspective it is absolutely crucial that this must change. Corporations should no longer trump climate change action, to paraphrase Naomi Klein. Countries like Indonesia, India and Brazil (before Bolsonaro) have adopted trade strategies were investor protection no longer is part of the game. That goes also for Australia and New Zeeland that do not want to have another Philip Morris case to deal with (Philip Morris sued Australia 2012 in an investment tribunal for legislating upon plain packages). The NAFTA has recently been revised and it´s interesting that the ISDS component has been lifted out between the USA and Canada, but not with Mexico. This shows that investment protection is controversial indeed and if the ISDS can be lifted out in NAFTA it can be erased all over (in Mexico for a start). The European Commission has – after a judgement in ECJ – decided that all intra-EU-ISDS agreements should be scrapped (and that includes too the International Energy Charter that Swedish Vattenfall used twice against Germany). So the timing is good for the Left and environmental movement to call for a new trade regime without corporate investment protection.

To sum up. In the shorter perspective the Left should:
• Challenge the market fundamentalism in the EU treaties and legislation. Member states should always be permitted to legislate for higher ambitions than the EU on environmental and public health grounds.
• Challenge CETA, JEFTA, TTIP and other neo-liberal treaties and struggle for a fairer trade without special corporate protection.
• Climate policies in line with Paris is anti-capitalist per se. That could be:
– More ambitious targets
– Restrictions on industries
– Ban fossil fuels
– Phase out environmental harmful subsidies
– Restrict transport (challenge just-in time ideology)
– Train cooperation – not competition
– Restriction on plastic and other materials or commodities
• The European Elections in May could be a good start for a more coordinated red-green movement around this.

Jens Holm

Jens Holm is also author of the book “Om inte vi, vem? Politiken som räddar klimatet och förändrar vänstern” (Sjösala, 2017)
In English: If not us, who? Politics that saves the climate and change the left. The book is only available in Swedish.

Create a UN parliamentary assembly

I write together with many other MPs about establishing a permanent parliamentary assembly at the United Nations. First step towards a world parliament? Read our call in the Guardian or below.

Call to action on the creation of a UN parliamentary assembly
The Guardian 6/3-19
The UN, the multilateral order and democracy are under attack. Business as usual and lofty rhetoric are not sufficient to counter this threat. Despite many warnings and recommendations, not much has been done to prepare the UN for this challenge. The time for complacency and complaints is over. Now courageous leadership is needed.

The panel of eminent persons on UN-civil society relations warned almost 15 years ago that the UN must do more to strengthen global governance and tackle democratic deficits. The panel stressed that more systematic engagement of parliamentarians, national parliaments and local authorities in the UN would strengthen global governance, confront democratic deficits in intergovernmental affairs, buttress representational democracy and connect the UN better with global opinion. Current arrangements are not adequate.

When the international campaign for a UN parliamentary assembly (UNPA) was launched 11 years ago, the campaign’s patron, the late former UN secretary general Boutros Boutros-Ghali said we need to promote the democratisation of globalisation, before globalisation destroys the foundations of democracy.

It is with great concern that we are now witnessing how this development is unfolding. The establishment of a parliamentary assembly at the UN has become an indispensable step to achieve democratic control of globalisation.

We, the undersigning members of parliament, affirm our commitment to the goal of creating a UNPA in order to strengthen the democratic representation of the world’s citizens in global affairs and the UN’s decision-making.

We invite our fellow MPs from across the world who are democratically elected to join our parliamentary group for a UNPA in order to strengthen and coordinate our efforts. Together we can help build the political momentum and pressure that is needed to achieve our goal.

We believe the 75th anniversary of the UN in 2020 must be used as an opportunity to take stock and initiate far-reaching reforms, including the establishment of a UNPA.

We call on the UN secretary general, the president of the general assembly, the heads of states and governments and their foreign ministers as well as the representatives of UN member states in New York to initiate and support necessary steps in preparation of a meaningful UN reform summit in 2020 and towards the creation of a UNPA.

Alban Bagbin Member of parliament, Ghana
Tommy Broughan Member of parliament, Ireland
Ibrahim Bundu Former member of parliament, Sierra Leone
Omar De Marchena González Member of parliament, Dominican Republic
Jennifer De Temmerman Member of parliament, France
Sigmar Gabriel Member of parliament and former foreign minister, Germany
Nik Gugger Member of parliament, Switzerland
Jens Holm Member of parliament, Sweden
Andrej Hunko Member of parliament, Germany
Fernando Iglesias Member of parliament, Argentina
Daniel Jositsch Senator, Switzerland
Katja Keul Member of parliament, Germany
Jameleddine Khemakhem Former member of parliament, Tunisia
Jo Leinen Member of the European parliament, Germany
Fungayi Jessie Majome Former member of parliament, Zimbabwe
Yannis Maniatis Member of parliament and former minister of environment, energy and climate change, Greece
David Martin Member of the European parliament, Scotland
Smári McCarthy Member of parliament, Iceland
Stevens Mogkalapa Former member of parliament, South Africa
Florence Mutua Member of parliament, Kenya
Sunil B Pant Member of parliament, Nepal
Victor Perli Member of parliament, Germany
Lilia Puig Member of parliament, Argentina
Syed Naveed Qamar Member of parliament and former minister of defence, Pakistan
Achyuta Samanta Member of parliament, India
Axel Schäfer Member of parliament, Germany
Uwe Schummer Member of parliament, Germany
Stefan Schwartze Member of parliament, Germany
Ivone Soares Member of parliament, Mozambique
Mathias Stein Member of parliament, Germany
Nomsa Tarabella-Marchesi Member of parliament, South Africa
George Vella Former member of parliament and former foreign minister, Malta
Heinrich Volmink Former member of parliament, South Africa

Give the Peace Prize to Greta Thunberg

We have nominated the climate activist Greta Thunberg to the Nobel Peace Prize. Below our motivation.

To the Norwegian Nobel Committee:
Nobel Peace Prize to Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg is a climate activist, and the main reason she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize is that despite her young age, she has worked hard to make politicians open their eyes for the climate changes. There is no other topic that is such important as this, and what we need to right now is to focus on how we can solve this crisis. This is what she said when she arrived to the train station in Davos for the summit: “You have failed. In the future, if we don’t care about this, then no other issues are going to matter. I see the facts and I see what needs to be done and I decide to do it because if I didn’t, I would feel bad. When I grow up, I want to look back and say that I did what I could back then.” – Greta Thunberg.

Thunberg is 16 years old and despite the fact that she is still a child, she shows us that everyone can make a difference. It’s just a matter of courage and will power. Greta has been protesting outside the Swedish parliament with the sign “School Strike for the Climate”. She kept protesting every day, starting the 20th of August and stopped 9th of September when the Sweden went into their general election. She has made the world open their eyes and seeing the reality and not just that, she showed us that every single one could make a difference. No matter how big the difference is, but everyone can do something.

Greta Thunberg is now school striking every Friday and she is not stopping until Swedish politics is synced with The Paris Agreement. Thunberg has also been taking part of other demonstrations around the world. For example, she participated in the demonstration “Rise for Climate” outside the EU Parliament in Brussel, in a climate march in Helsingfors and in London.

Her initiative spread internationally under the hashtags #Fridaysforfuture and #ClimateStrike and in the end of September she had been talked about in TV media and by the Secretary General of FN António Guterres and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Håkan Svenneling, MP riksdagen Sweden
Jens Holm, MP riksdagen Sweden

Give the Peace Prize to Snowden

We nominate today whistleblower Edward Snowden to the Nobel Peace Prize. Please find our nomination here: EdwardSnowdenNomination2018-01-17 or below.

17 January 2018

To the Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee:

We write to nominate Edward Joseph Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Alfred Nobel intended that the Peace Prize would promote disarmament. Today, militaries around the world place ever greater emphasis on engagement in cyberspace, with its almost unlimited possibilities for spying, disruption, and destruction. No one has sounded the alarm more eloquently than Edward Snowden as regards military encroachment upon the world’s systems of electronic communication, and how such encroachment violates rights of privacy and threatens the continued existence of democracy.

Edward Snowden became one of history’s great whistleblowers when he revealed to leading journalists that the United States conducts all-encompassing mass surveillance around the world. In a conscientious and responsible manner, he exposed a system in which the phone, internet and other communications of individuals and whole nations are intercepted and permanently stored. Snowden insisted that it must be up to an informed global citizenry to decide whether they wish to live in a world in which they are constantly monitored by the United States military. With courage and careful judgment, he initiated a global debate about surveillance systems that operate beyond democratic control and the rule of law.

Snowden’s contribution is of particular importance today, when the American military’s capacities for interception and disruption in cyberspace are under the authority of a new commander-in-chief. President Donald J. Trump has shown little willingness to respect legal or ethical limits on the use of his power. Snowden, by contrast, is a person who perhaps more than anyone else alive symbolizes the importance of citizens who endeavor to place limits on the abuses of centralized military power. It is therefore a particularly suitable moment to award the Nobel Prize for Peace to Edward Snowden.

Yours truly,

Jens Holm, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Annika Lillemets, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Lotta Johnsson Fornarve, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Carl Schlyter, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Amineh Kakabaveh, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Valter Mutt, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Yasmine Posio, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize

Today we nominate Mr Edward Snowden to the Nobel Peace Prize. Please read more here edwardsnowdennomination2017-01-30 or below.

To the Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee:

We write to nominate Edward Joseph Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Alfred Nobel intended that the Peace Prize would promote disarmament. Today, militaries around the world place ever greater emphasis on engagement in cyberspace, with its almost unlimited possibilities for spying, disruption, and destruction.  No one has sounded the alarm more eloquently than Edward Snowden as regards military encroachment upon the world’s systems of electronic communication, and how such encroachment violates rights of privacy and threatens the continued existence of democracy.

Edward Snowden became one of history’s great whistleblowers when he revealed to leading journalists that the United States conducts all-encompassing mass surveillance around the world. In a conscientious and responsible manner, he exposed a system in which the phone, internet and other communications of individuals and whole nations are intercepted and permanently stored. Snowden insisted that it must be up to an informed global citizenry to decide whether they wish to live in a world in which they are constantly monitored by the United States military. With courage and careful judgment, he initiated a global debate about surveillance systems that operate beyond democratic control and the rule of law. Many states are now trying to build up similar capacities as the US. Snowden´s work has permitted an open and democratic debate, globally, about the risks of cyberwarfare and global surveillance.

Snowden’s contribution is of particular importance today, when the American military’s capacities for interception and disruption in cyberspace are under the authority of a new commander-in-chief.  President Donald J. Trump has expressed little intention to respect legal or ethical limits on the use of his power.  It is therefore a particularly suitable moment to award the Nobel Prize for Peace to Edward Snowden.

Yours truly,

Jens Holm, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Annika Lillemets, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Wiwi-Anne Johansson, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Carl Schlyter, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Lotta Johnsson Fornarve, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Amineh Kakabaveh, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Valter Mutt, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Daniel Sestrajcic, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Annika Hirvonen Falk, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Hans Linde, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Pardon Snowden

The Parliamentary Human Rights Group of the Swedish Parliament ask Mr Barack Obama to pardon Mr Edward Snowden. It has now been sent to the White House with endorsement from a lot of MPs (me included of course). Please see our petition here: snowden_pardon or below.

About my conversation with Mr Snowden 2015 (text in Swedish).

The Parliamentary Human Rights Group
President of the United States of America
Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20500, USA
Stockholm, 12 December 2016

Mr President,
We, the undersigned members of the Swedish Parliament, would like to express our grave
concern regarding whistleblower Edward Snowden . He remains in Russia, unable to travel
or return to the United States. Were he to return home, he risks being tried for treason all for performing what your former Attorney General Eric Holder has called “a public service” and what we consider to be a global public service in defense of human rights.
When Mr Snowden revealed the extent of NSA global mass surveillance in 2013, he initiated a global debate about and a global movement to protect human rights in cyber space.

Even you, Mr President, have said that the global debate he sparked “will make us stronger.” We believe that he did so because he felt a moral obligation to reveal the illegal, systematic surveillance that many states have engaged in over the recent decade. We believe that Mr Snowden should be rewarded, not punished, for the sacrifice he made.
We therefore call on you, Mr President, to pardon Mr Snowden with the powers granted to
you by Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.

Pending his pardon, we also urge US authorities to take the necessary measures to ensure that Mr Snowden’s passport is made valid again, so that he may travel and seek asylum in whatever country he wishes. Finally, we urge US authorities to strengthen the legal protections of whistleblowers, so that individuals who reveal government wrongdoing in the future are not penalized like Mr Snowden has been.

Yours sincerely,

We support Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Please find our letter of concern here or below:  standingrock_letterofconcern2016-10-13

Stockholm, 13 October 2016

Greetings to you,
Honorable President of the United States, Barack Obama
Honorable Governor Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota
Army Corps of Engineers, North Dakota
Morton County Sheriff, Kyle Kirchmeier

It is with great concern that we write to you at this time.

We have been observing the events unfolding regarding the Standing Rock Sioux tribes opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline being built very close to their reservation and their drinking water source. We acknowledge the tribal governments concern for a possible oil spill that would threaten theirs and many other peoples water supply.
Furthermore we question the state authorities excessive show of force against the people who exercise their right to voice their opinion and engage in peaceful direct action to pause the construction of the pipeline, until a meaningful consultation with the affected parties can take place and a full environmental impact study has been carried out.
We strongly oppose the treatment of unarmed civilians and media persons, by police agencies and state authorities, that have been demonstrated these past weeks, since the protest against the Dakota Access pipeline started.

We have watched how the pipeline company have dug up a portion of land, that contained graves and important cultural sites, that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe the day before submitted a survey report of, to the court system, to have protected. Dakota Access pipeline personnel moved their machinery on Labour Day weekend, to this very site and had hired a private security firm that showed up with guard dogs that these guards launched into the crowd of Indigenous peoples, who rightfully was upset to see their relatives dug up from their final resting place, and to see their cultural sites destroyed. Many people were bitten by these dogs and sprayed with some type of chemicals by these guards.

In the last week of September, we witnessed how heavily armed police forces, showed up in armored trucks, in riot gear, and pointed loaded rifles at people who had gathered to pray at a location where the pipeline was being constructed. We were appalled to see this take Place!

We call upon the North Dakota authorities and the Morton County Sheriffs Office, to refrain from using this disproportionally large show of force against unarmed peaceful people who  exercise their right to voice their opinions and engage in peaceful actions to protect their water. The use of excessive show of force, may have undesired effects that could escalate violence, instead of preventing violence.

We really commend the Indigenous peoples leadership at the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the thousands of people that have gathered in the Sacred Stone Camp, Oceti Sakowin Camp, Red Warrior Camp and High Star Camp, for their extraordinary ability to keep calm and act peacefully in the struggle to protect the water, their traditional land and culture.
A real democracys principal rules rests upon social equality, majority rule, minority rights, freedom and integrity.

A real democracy naturally defends minority rights, whether it be freedom of religion, right to assemble, freedom of expression and fair legal process.
The fifth principal of democracy; integrity, is about honesty and compassion, and the absence of corruption.

On September 13 in year 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We call upon the state and federal agencies to uphold and respect the articles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Geneva Convention, The UN Declaration for Human Rights. Consider the adopted Paris agreement from 2015 to combat Climate Change.

We strongly oppose the excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies against unarmed civilians who only use their right to peaceful protest against a corporate Project that has a real potential to destroy their drinking water source, aswell as the water for millions of american citizens downstream  who also rely on the Missouri river.
We, the undersigned agree with the joint statement issued by the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Army, that states that these government departments will not allow the Dakota Access pipeline to cross underneath Lake Oahe and calls for a serious discussion  to see if there is a need to review nationwide reforms in regard to respect tribes views on these types of infrastructure projects, considering protection of tribal lands, resources and treaty rights, both within existing frameworks and possible new legislation.

Water is the fundamental source of Life. We all depend on clean water in our daily lives.
Water is a unifying force because we all understand that we depend on it in so many ways. We all need to take measures to protect our water from pollution and make sure that we don’t destroy the natural prerequisite for life for our Children, our grandchildren and coming generations.

Please consider the need to protect the water, tribal lands and resources, the environment and culturally important sites of the Indigenous Peoples.
Never before have so many Indigenous nations gathered in a unified effort to protect their water and their rights as Indigenous Peoples. This is indeed a historic event that we are experiencing right now. They have legitimate concerns, and we ask that their voices be heard and their inherent rights be respected and acted upon accordingly.
We will continue to monitor the situation and hope for a peaceful and just outcome.
Thank you for your time and consideration of our concerns.

Respectfully submitted by,

Jens Holm, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Annika Lillemets, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Amineh Kakabaveh, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Valter Mutt, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Emma Wallrup, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Carl Schlyter, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Climate change – risk and opportunity indicator

Welcome to our seminar about climate change and growing risks next Friday.

When: 09.00-15.45, 27th of September 2013
Where: The former second chamber of the Swedish Parliament, Riksdagen

Climate change is a global risk issue. In addition, we have now a situation where the
emissions are so big that the probability for extreme warming, 6°C or more, has reached such
high levels that we no longer can ignore this risk. Despite the seriousness of the issue, we have witnessed how it in media as well as among politicians and in business has been argued that the uncertainty, when it comes to exactly how
serious the risks of climate change are, has motivated that we shall wait for less uncertain data
from the scientists before we act. From a risk perspective this is an incorrect reasoning since
increased uncertainty regarding big threats leads to more forceful action – not less.
We want this meeting to be relatively small to enable a dynamic dialogue, and are happy to
see people with different competences and background participating. We therefore appreciate
if you when registering can note what particular interest you have regarding global risks.

To register (which is mandatory in order to be able to enter in the parliament), please
send an email to, latest 24/9: anmalan.riksdagen@mp.se 

For questions about the project, the launch or the next steps, please contact:
Dennis Pamlin, Project Manager, Global Challenges Foundation dennis@globalchallenges.org

For questions about GLOBE, please contact: jens.holm@riksdagen.se

Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator
arrangeras i samarbete med GLOBE Sverige och MP

9.00 Welcome to the Swedish Parliament and the old second chamber of parliament.
Jens Holm, Vice-President of GLOBE Sweden, Member of Parliament & Åsa Romson, Member of parliament, Member of GLOBE Sweden
9.05 Welcome to the Global Risk Panel, launch of the Global Risk & Opportunity indicator and Introduction to Global Challenges Foundation
Margot Wallström, spokes person, Global Challenges Foundation
9.20 Welcome and comment
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (v)
9.30 Introduction to the Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator
Dennis Pamlin, Project Manager, Global Challenges Foundation
9.45 How the complexity of nature affects risks, climate change and beyond
Johan Rockström, Executive Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre

10.00 The current IPCC work, what’s included and what is not in the sensitivity numbers
Bill Hare, Founder and CEO of Climate Analytics
10.15 Assessing global threats and communicating to guide policy development.
Kennette Benedict, Executive director and publisher, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
10.30 Global high impact risks and the BASIC expert group PAN Jiahua, Professor of Economics and Director, Institute for Urban & Environmental Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (v)

10.35 Discussion + Q&A All

10.55 Break All

11.20 Global high impact risks and the financial sector
Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman, CDP
11.35 Global high impact risks and reinsurance
David Bresch Director Sustainability & Political Risk Management Swiss Re (v)
11.50 Global high impact risks investment and banking
Nick Robins, Head of climate change centre of excellence at HSBC
12.05 Global high impact risks, the actuarial profession and policy implications
Nick Silver, founder and director of the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI)

12.20 Discussion + Q&A All

12.40 Lunch and informal discussions All

13.40 Global high impact climate risk and security policy
Tilman Brück, Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
13.55 Global Governance and global risk: the need for new thinking
David Held, Professor of Politics and International Relations at Durham University (v)

14.10 Discussion + Q&A All

14.30 Summary and thanks to those in the panel and in the audience that have to leave
Margot Wallström & Dennis Pamlin

14.45 Break All

15.00 What is next for global climate risks? Climate expert
15.20 The Stockholm Global Risk Declaration and next steps
Margot Wallström & Dennis Pamlin + All
15.45 End
Overview of speakers (alphabetical order)
Kennette Benedict, is the Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. She came to the Bulletin from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where she directed the international peace and security program from 1992 to 2005. She also established and directed the foundation’s initiative in the former Soviet Union from 1992 to 2002. Before joining the foundation in 1987, she taught at Rutgers University (1980-1981) and at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (1981-1985). Benedict received her A.B. from Oberlin College and a PhD in political science from Stanford University. Her media appearances include interviews on ABC’s 20/20, CNN, CNN International, BBC, CBC, NPR, CTV, Voice of America, Fox News Channel, Agence Presse-France, and Al Jazeera. She has been quoted in USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, and Congressional Quarterly, among others. She appears regularly on radio news and talk shows in the United States, Britain, and Australia.

David Bresch, heads the Sustainability & Political Risk Management unit at Swiss Re. A central role of the team is to guide Swiss Re’s commitment to provide ethical, environmentally and socially responsible financial services. For Swiss Re as a global risk taker, climate issues feature prominently on the agenda1. David Bresch has been a member of the official Swiss delegation to the UNFCCC COP15 (2009) in Copenhagen, COP16 (2010) in Cancun, COP17 (2011) in Durban and COP18 in Doha 2012. His previous roles at Swiss Re since 2000 include Head of University and Risk Research Relations and Head Atmospheric Perils Group. He served as Swiss Re’s chief architect for natural catastrophe risk assessment models and has been member of the deal teams for many innovative risk transfer transactions, like cat bonds and weather index solutions.

Tilman Brück, became the eighth Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in January 2013. Tilman Brück is a development economist who trained at Glasgow University and Oxford University. His research interests include the inter-relationship between peace, security and development (especially at the micro-level), the economics of post-war reconstruction, and the economics of terrorism and security policy, with country experiences in Angola, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Mongolia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ukraine. Tilman Brück also collects and analyses household-level surveys to study poverty and employment and how they relate to conflict. He is a co-founder and co-director of the Households in Conflict Network and a founding member of the Global Young Academy. He was previously a full professor of development economics at Humboldt-University of Berlin and a head of department at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). Tilman Brück has also worked as an adviser and consultant for numerous governments and international organizations.

Paul Dickinson, is the Executive Chairman of CDP. He founded CDP in 2000 having previously founded and developed Rufus Leonard Corporate Communications and, more recently, EyeNetwork, the largest videoconference service in Europe. Member of the Environmental Research Group of the UK Faculty and Institute of Actuaries. Author of various publications including ‘Beautiful Corporations’.

Bill Hare, is a Climate Scientist with twenty-five years experience in the science, impacts and policy responses to climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion. He is a founder and CEO of Climate Analytics, a non profit company based in Berlin, which was established in 2008 to synthesize and advance scientific knowledge in the area of climate change and provide state-of-the-art solutions to global and national climate change policy challenges. He is a visiting scientist in the Earth System Analysis – Research Domain I at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research since 2002. Areas of scientific and policy expertise include the science and impacts of climate change, international climate policy, including the architecture of the international climate regime; climate system response to greenhouse gas forcing and the assessment of emission pathways. Since 2008 the main focus of his scientific work has been on developing the PRIMAP (Potsdam Real-time Integrated Model for Assessment of emission Paths) model. At present he is directing the SURVIVE Project which is providing scientific, policy, analytical and strategic support, capacity building and advice for delegations from the small island states (SIDS) and the least developed countries (LDCs) in the international climate negotiations. He was a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

David Held, is Master of University College, Durham and Professor of Politics and International Relations at Durham University. Among his most recent publications are Gridlock:Why Global Cooperation is Failing when We Need It Most (2013), Cosmopolitanism: Ideals and Realities (2010), Globalisation/Anti-Globalisation (2007), Models of Democracy (2006), Global Covenant (2004), Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture (1999), and Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance (1995). His main research interests include the study of globalisation, changing forms of democracy and the prospects of regional and global governance. He is a Director of Polity Press, which he co-founded in 1984, and General Editor of Global Policy .

Dennis Pamlin, Project Manager, Global Challenges Foundation, is an entrepreneur and founder of 21st Century Frontiers. He works with companies, governments and NGOs as a strategic economic, technology and innovation advisor. His background is in engineering, industrial economy and marketing. Mr Pamlin worked as Global Policy Advisor for WWF from 1999 to 2009. During his tenure, Pamlin initiated WWFs Trade and Investment Programme work in the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and led the work with companies (especially high-tech companies such as ICT) as solution providers. Pamlin is currently an independent consultant as well as Director for the Low Carbon Leaders Project under the UN Global Compact and is a Senior Associate at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Current work includes work to establish a web platform to promote transformative solutions, creating the first portal that will allow public procurement to identify transformative solutions. Pamlin is also exploring how new ideas can be financed through web-tools/apps and the cultural tensions between the “west” and the re-emerging economies (with focus on China and India).

PAN Jiahua, is currently director-general, Institute for Urban & Environmental Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), and professor of economics at CASS Graduate School. Received his PhD at Cambridge University in 1992. Areas of interest include economics of sustainable development, energy and climate policy, world economy and environmental and natural resource economics. Worked for the UNDP Beijing Office as an advisor on environment and development; Lead author of the IPCC Working Group III 3rd and 4th Assessment Report on Mitigation; Member of China National Expert Panel on Climate Change; Member of National Foreign Policy Advisory Group; Advisor to the Ministry of Environment Protection. Vice president of the Chinese Society of Ecological Economists, vice president of Chinese Energy Association. Co-editor of Climate Change 2007: mitigation published by Cambridge University Press and author of over 300 papers, articles and books in both English and Chinese.

Nick Robins, is Head of the Climate Change Centre of Excellence at HSBC in London. Launched in October 2007, the Centre’s mission is to analyse the commercial consequences of climate change for the HSBC Group and its clients. Since joining Nick has co-authored research on strategic climate investment themes (Gathering Momentum, Sept 2008), climate risk (Oil & Carbon, Sept 2008), climate change and fiscal stimulus (Green Rebound, Jan 2009 & A Climate of Recovery, Feb 2009), as well as emerging market potential (A spectrum of choices, Nov 2008). Since January 2009 Nick co-chairs the Climate Change Working Group of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). He is a member of the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Panel, BT’s CSR Leadership Panel and GE’s Stakeholder Review Panel. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Associate Member of the Securities and Investment Institute. He has a BA (First Class) in History from Cambridge University and a MSc (with Distinction) in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Johan Rockström, is the Executive Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre, and a Professor in Environmental Science at Stockholm University, with emphasis on water resources and global sustainability. He was director of the Stockholm Environment Institute in 2004–2012. Johan is an internationally recognized scientist with more than 15 years’ experience of research on agriculture, water resources and ecosystem services, and over 100 research publications in fields such as global environmental change, resilience, agriculture, global water resources, and food production. He has served as advisor to several international organizations, governments, and the European Union, and is a frequent key-note speaker at both the international research arena and among policy makers. Johan was in 2013 for the second consecutive year appointed most influential person in Sweden within the environmental field. His most recent books are The Human Quest (with Mattias Klum) and Bankrupting Nature (with Anders Wijkman).

Nick Silver, founder and director of the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), which is working with governments and MLIs to develop policies that will facilitate institutional investment at scale in the low carbon economy. Nick is co-ordinating the Local Authority Energy Efficiency Partnership (LEEP) which is working with municipalities to bring in large scale investment into domestic energy efficiency. Until recently Nick was Chairman of the Resource and Environment Group of the UK actuarial profession. Nick is a visiting fellow at the Grantham Institute and senior honorary visiting fellow at Cass Business School. Nick has advised the UK’s Environment Department (DEFRA) and Development Department (DFID) and the German Development Department (GTZ) on climate finance in developing countries, presented at the launch of the Climate Investment Funds at the World Bank and at a number of UNFCCC conferences and G8 Gleneagles dialogue conferences. Nick is part of the UK Government’s Capital Markets Climate Initiative which aims to drive large scale investment into climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Margot Wallström, is a former Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister of Sweden and diplomat, who until recently held the post of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Prior to this, she served for ten years as European Commissioner: 1999–2004 as Environment Commissioner, and 2004–2010 as Vice President and Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy in the Barroso Commission. She is currently the chairman of Lund University in Sweden.